If you've ever sat there shaking your head at the sad, sad lengths people will go to in order to be on TV, then you'd appreciate the truTV prank show FAMELESS, produced by David Spade. As noted on the FAMELESS site, "Each week, the series features a group of unsuspecting desperate-to-be-famous individuals who believe they've been cast on a reality show. However, unbeknownst to them, they are really filming a parody with improv actors creating over-the-top scenarios that steadily increase the absurdity and ridiculousness of each situation."
That desperation gets played out heavily in tattoo reality TV shows, making it a perfect punk for those willing to sacrifice skin for their 15 minutes of fame.
In the FAMELESS Revenge Ink clip (embedded above), aspiring rapper JC believes he's going to be on a show called "Virgin Ink," getting his first tattoo -- a zombie Audrey Hepburn -- on his back by Kat Von D. After Kat finishes the tattoo, producers bring a woman in to confront JC about some misdeed and reveal that he's actually on a show called "Revenge Ink" -- and he didn't get the tattoo he bargained for. Hilarity ensues! And it really does. I won't spoil it for you but I burst out laughing at the end of this preview clip. Worth the watch.
This Saturday, Nov. 26th, from 7-10PM, tattooer and musician Dan Smith will be signing his new book, "With the Light of Truth" at Sacred Gallery in SoHo, NYC.
Described as "A collection of tattoos, art, and profiles of some of the best Straight Edge tattoo artists in the world," the 256-page hardcover is filled with imagery that will inspire those beyond the drug & alcohol free community. [See sample pages below.]
In this video with Tattoo Artist Magazine, the LA Ink star says the "super-intensive" book is a project he's worked the hardest on in recent years, and represents his friends and something he cares a lot about. A list of artists featured and news on "With the Light of Truth" can be found on Facebook here.
The book is released by Memento Publishing and available for purchase via Dan's online store or at the book signing at Sacred Gallery. Complimentary Shirley Temple drinks will also be served.
For those on the West Coast, there will also be a book signing on December 10th in LA at Kat Von D's Wonderland Gallery.
You can find more on Dan and his tattoo work at DanSmithTattoos.com. And to hear his music, head to Thedearanddeparted.com.
Art by Grez of Kings Ave.
Art by Steve Byrne.
Last Friday, Oliver Peck held his annual and infamous Friday the 13th marathon tattoo special at his Elm Street Tattoo studio and The Dallas Morning News was there to cover it [video above]. It's an interesting look at the melee with classic quotes from Peck, including talk of the myth and lore behind "13" tattoos and why he's been doing this marathon for years: "I just love gimmicks. I love partying. I love tattooing, and I just put it all together. [Sailor Jerry Rum helped with the partying.]
Peck was also in the news for his recent opening of True Tattoo studio in LA (which he purchased in January). Gossip blogs particularly loved his shit talking against ex-wife Kat Von D, saying that his studio will "make real tattoos" as opposed to Kat's "gimmicky tourist tattoos" close by.
I thought he just loved gimmicks.
Kat Von D portrait tattoo by Erin Chance
With filming beginning for yet another tattoo TV show, NY Ink, it seems the timing is right for Dr. Matt Lodder's look at the formulas behind "reality TV" (and their relation to the true reality of tattooing) in his article entitled, "Televising the Tattoo" for Paperweight: A Newspaper of Visual & Material Culture.
The article articulates the hot button issue surrounding these shows: not every tattoo needs to have a story but a television show does. Here's just a bit of what Matt says:
It is true that subsections of the tattooed population--gangs, sailors, prisoners--have certainly long made use of tattoos to express specific concepts or to signify group membership, but this has never been true of tattoos in general. Tattooing has forever been decorative as much as it has been simply narrative, with many tattoos lacking a specifically expressive story-telling component to the design. Nevertheless, tattoo TV both depends on and reinforces the preconception that the skin is a screen for its generic formula. For so ingrained is the connection between tattoos and stories that without the traumatic sob-stories of death and loss attached to almost every tattoo, the shows would feature little more than shots of the tattooers high-fiving one another.
For more of this excellent read, you can order Paperweight, print & digital, here.
[For more on NY Ink, see the blogs of Ami James and Tim Hendricks.]
Today's post is inspired by the numerous emails I've been getting from agents looking for fresh cast members to join LA Ink and a new show, NY Ink (it was only a matter of time).
This Kat Von D tribute was tattooed by the fabulous Erin Chance in Auckland, New Zealand, who is a resident artist at Sacred Tattoo. When I asked Erin what the backstory was behind the tattoo, she said, "The kid just really loves Kat Von D." A tattoo without a grand story and deep meaning? In what reality is this?
Comedian, activist, and hottie Margaret Cho, will be showing off her moves and tattoos in the latest season of Dancing With The Stars, which premiers this Monday the 20th. Represent, Cho!
I've never seen the show so I read this thingie that says, "We, the viewers, call the shots. We determine who stays and who goes each week." So how do we do that? Well, I read this thingie, which explains it all. In a nutshell, you can call or text to vote at the top of each performance until 30 minutes after the end of the show; for online voting, you have until 11am (Eastern Time) the next day.
So, vote for our own version of "hot inked chick" and keep her dancing, or have people like The Situation of Jersey Shore and Bristol Palin (Sarah's daughter -- yeah, I don't know why she's on either) taking away her air time. [Ok, The Situation should be amusing as well.]
Curious about Margaret's tattoos?
Artists who have worked on her include Ed Hardy, Chris O'Donnell, Mike Davis, Kat Von D, Nathan Kostechko, Andrew Moore, and Barnaby of Mom's Body Shop. She's blogged about these experiences here.
The fabulous Shawn Barber has also painted Margaret -- a portrait of her while getting tattooed by Mike Davis -- and that painting is the cover of her ChoDependent album, which includes soon to be classics like "Eat Shit & Die." The ChoDependent tour starts today in Vegas and will hit tons of cities across the US and Canada. Check the list of dates here.
Kick some ass, Margaret!
Not too long ago, I was introduced to Gene Priest (above, right), a brilliant musician and tattoo-collector out of Knoxville, TN. He was playing drums for a handful of bands at the time, but I was truly blown away once I heard the demo-recordings of his solo work that he was churning out on an acoustic guitar in his spare time. Fortunately, I was able to convince him to let me produce the tracks (and add a couple of instrument tracks, myself) and just last month, we pushed his four-song EP, "Living To Die" (mixed by Scott Minor of Sparklehorse) out into the ether as a free download on Lapdance Academy Records.
"Free-floating art-folk (think Vic Chesnutt) on the four-song Living To Die... with disciplined songwriting [and] particularly long, billowy melodies that take a while to sink in but are inescapable once they do."
I also got a chance to talk to Gene and his backing band, The Cardinal Sin, about their tattoos. Some questions they took seriously and some, well... let's just say that I've taken the piss out of plenty of journalists over my own musical career...
[interview after the jump]
I'll leave you for the weekend with these tattoo TV parodies of LA Ink. They made me giggle.
The one above is by KCS Cougar Productions, masters at pop culture mocking. Check more of their work here. And below is a brilliant ad for DJ Minor and Jen's Reno Tattoo Company.
[Via the awesome Tattoo Snob.]
in the media has not yet waned since the unfortunate Michelle McGee graced tabloid covers for being tattooed and sleeping with Sandra Bullock's husband [her resume in a nutshell]. The upside, as I've mentioned before, is that heavily tattooed women are getting some sort of voice in the news to dispel stereotypes and address tattooing as an art form.
What's been largely left out of this discourse, however, are the stories of female tattooists, so when my friend Kari filled me in on a documentary on these artists, I was stoked.
The doc is called Covered, and based on the trailer (shown above), it appears to cover a range of experiences, from foremothers of modern tattoo like Vyvyn Lazonga who fought to learn the craft to new apprentices who say that haven't met with any discrimination at all. The film also goes beyond the tattooists and addresses how "heavily tattooed women must negotiate social sanctions from strangers, family, friends, and employers, in order to enjoy their love of tattoo artwork."
Director and producer Beverly Yuen Thompson, Ph.D. further explains what sparked Covered:
"Tattoo culture has now entered the mainstream with its exponential growth in popularity, reality television shows, and nationwide tattoo conventions. While Kat Von D might have made it to television stardom as a female tattooist, other women's voices from the tattoo community have been notably absent. When women are present, such as in tattoo magazines, they are often sexually objectified. Covered sets out to remedy these oversights by shedding light on the history of women in the tattoo industry and to share the voices and perspectives of heavily tattooed women in the United States."The film is recently released and will start making the film festival as well as academic circuits. Will keep you posted on screenings.
I don't try to have 'a flowing design sleeve,' that's all going to run into each other. I just really want to look like my grandfather, right when he got out of the brig in 1946.
What do Sailor Jerry, Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal and Eastwood Guitars have in common? I'm not quite too sure, myself - other than the obvious response that Jesse has an extensive collection of traditional, Americana tattoos; he wrote a song about Kat Von D; and he also plays guitar (albeit, mostly in open-tuning).
But the good news is that all three have banded together for a contest in which you can win an Eastwood Airlines RS-II guitar that's been signed by all the touring members of the Eagles of Death Metal - Jesse, Dave Catching, Brian "Big Hands" O'Connor and Joey Castillo.
So, while it will decrease my own chances of winning this hollow-bodied piece of single-coil retrotasticulousness, I feel the need to encourage all of you to enter by filling out this form.
Seriously, what's NOT to love about Jesse?
Tattoo by Swastika Freakshop
After spending most of last week at my Ohm-tastic yoga retreat, I came back feelin goooood, and so I promise a zen like news review, free of blogger snark but full of tattoo goodness.
To prove my tantric love, I wont even mock Miami Heat's Michael Beasley's new "Super Cool Beas" tattoo (and ganja love), nor say things like the Kat Von D concealer for Sephora "looks like an amazing product. If you like eczema." I'm too full of peace and oneness for that even if it does prove what I said about my own trial of the concealer (noted here).
So let's get on with the love fest ...
Check this 7x7 interview with Shawn Barber, where the painter and tattooist discusses his own love of the craft:
"Tattooing gives so much more than it takes. It allows an individual to acknowledge life with permanent markers. Getting tattooed is a leap of faith that reminds you of that exact time and place for the rest of your life."
This past weekend, Shawn was one of the many great artists working the Tattoo Hollywood Convention in LA, reported on by Modblog here and here.
Other conventions covered this weekend were Rhode Island's Rock the Ink, and the Alberta tattoo convention, where Lucky Diamond Rich -- the world's most tattooed person shown below -- stole the show.
Only more beautifully freaky than Lucky is this news item: "A man with a tattoo of Britney Spears' name on his arm or neck allegedly stole a Chihuahua with pink earrings from a South Florida gay bar." I'll just leave it at that, thank you.
But please explain why people with distinguishing tattoos continue to commit crimes. [Indeed, a Hitler tattoo will be used in a hate-crime trial.]
In Russia, however, hate symbols like the Nazi swastika, can be ordered removed on offenders. I disagree, if only because I like to know what kinda haters I'm dealing with. Tattoos can be a great personal filter for people you meet in life.
[Tattoos will also give you away if you try to have sex with your twin's girlfriend.]
For those who want a fresh star, British Columbia's Gang Task force will remove affiliate tattoos, but only for gang intel. The comments are particularly interesting. [Thanks, Brayden!]
Thankfully, some bod mod over-achievers were celebrated in the news this week: pierced and tattooed Olympians.
And finally, the bonus quiz: Guess the celebrity tattoos.
That's it this week. Namaste, friends.
Yesterday, I wrote about yet another tattoo ban for cops, this time in St. Louis, and it reminded me of a story I read last month in the American Chronicle on a tattoo cover-up created by a former LA Deputy Sheriff and a Marine Corps Vet called Ink Armor.
Ink Armor basically looks like nude stockings for your arms, just thicker, although the company says that the material is "lightweight and breathable."
The full sleeve fits from the upper arm to the wrist while the half sleeve goes to the elbow. They sell for around twenty to fifteen bucks respectively and come in four sizes for men and women.
Only two colors are available, however, "light" and "suntan."
To see how it works, check this video.
The tattoo cover ups are largely marketed to those who work for companies with "no visible tattoos" policies -- and in fact, they offer a list of such companies and public departments on their blog -- but Ink Armor also targets people with "extensive scarring or disfiguring skin conditions."
I'm tempted to place an order, although not for work where I wear long sleeve suits as a rule, but more for my trips to the motherland, where heavily tattooed women are considered the greatest Greek tragedy.
Also in the news today ...
Kat Von D's tattoo concealer for Sephora, also only available for light skinned people. I tried it myself. It didn't work. I had a make-up artist at Sephora apply it for me and after brushing on numerous layers, the small tattoo on my hand -- the one that gives me the most trouble because it's hard to conceal -- was still very visible. So we wiped it off and I asked to see other tattoo cover-ups. None that she used on me worked, so I'm not just hatin on the Von D product.
The one that came the closest to covering my tattoo was Conceal FX Camouflage Concealer, which is thicker, waterproof, and comes in a variety of skin tone shades. The price tag is $25. The problem was that it was really cakey and actually drew attention to my hand.
I haven't tried Dermablend or Colortration, but some swear by those tattoo concealers. I plan on odering and will let you know how they work.
Right now, my regular solution for my hand tattoo: fabric waterproof Bandaids.
Photo by Corey Kilgannon for The New York Times
The NY Times blog recently discussed how tattoos are hurting job applicants, especially in this tight economy. And while Bobby Fisher has decided to raise a tattooed middle finger to corporate America, I've never had a problem covering up to pay my rent -- and even welcome the reprieve from the usual stupid questions.
Hey Bobby, just see how "FUCK 401(K)" knuckle ink brings the dumbasses out to play? You'll be invited to every post-collegiate frat party on the Upper East, my friend.
I may have most of my torso and and sleeves covered in tattoos but it's the little one on my finger that has given me the most trouble because it's hard to conceal. And I'm not the only one. The popularity of head, neck and hand tattoos has soared, leaving us with limited cover-up options like hats, ascots, and gloves. Better for ballrooms than boardrooms.
There is the make-up option.
As the Times writes, a public advocacy group in East Harlem, Strive, teaches how to cover-up tattoos with cosmetics, along with providing resume and interview training.
The latest tattoo concealer make-up comes from none other than Kat Von D for her Sephora line. At $25 a pop, it comes in three different shades (light, medium, and tan) but none for those with darker skin tones.
Reviews are mixed so I plan to head to Sephora and pick up the light shade for my hand to see if it really is dumbass questions proof.
Photo of Rockin Rollers Derby by Natalie Ujuk via Londonist.
I know you've been starved of your tattoo news updates from the old Needled.com times, but please, no Top Model mob behavior please. I appreciate your patience, the way you smile with your eyes, and how you let me talk incessantly about myself ala Tyra, and for this you will be rewarded with an extra-yummy news update. But first, go eat a cookie.
I, for one, prefer beautiful women brawling on skates, like The Broads of London's Rockin Rollers. Check out the fabulous photos of them by Natalie Ujuk on Londonist.
Ok, onto the headlines ...
The biggest news: TATTOO KILLS MAN! Sadly, a UK man died 10 days after his calf tattoo, which had gotten infected, but the cause was actually deep vein thrombosis, when a blood clot traveled to his lung. Granted thrombosis could have arisen from his inactivity in healing the tattoo but that is one of many potential causes. Still, the story will motivate me to get off the couch after my next session.
[Death may be an extreme fear but infections are not uncommon. Read about it here.]
Even the mere fear of infection has sparked a $20-million class action lawsuit in Canada. Lesson here: no matter how clean your studio, make sure that all your inspections, autoclave spore tests, and associated hygiene practices are in order, not just to protect clients but your studio from suits.
The biggest non-news: Suicide Girls get bacon bro tattoos at SXSW! My girls at SG are trendsetters as the bacon tattoo is lookin like the new tribal armband.
The biggest dirtbag news: Roxbury tattooist Jeffrey Dekmar is charged -- for the second time -- with sexually assaulting clients. Read the disgusting details from the arrest report:
"The patron wanting the prayer inked on her skin has alleged that she refused Dekmar's request that she remove her underpants, but that he yanked them down, digitally penetrated her, and then said, 'My bad,' according to an arrest affidavit."